The House will take up DADT repeal yet again tomorrow. This time it's the standalone repeal bill after the previous defense bill failed in the Senate. The House is expected to pass it, clearing the way for a Senate vote -- if the Senate can manage to get[...]
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Jon Stewart: "Since when does the Republican Party make 9/11 first responders stand over in the corner with the gays and Mexicans?" Watch.[...]
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The hackery over at Fox just never stops. With the economy in the tank and millions of people out of work and fed up with what's going on in America -- the rich getting richer and income disparity we haven't seen since the Gilded Age -- someone gets fed up enough to start lighting rich people's homes on fire, and of course it's all the Democrats' fault. Their sin, in Megyn Kelly's eyes, is having a "class warfare narrative".
Obviously no one in the Democratic Party is advocating for people to go out there and burn down rich people's houses. Kelly is ridiculous as she attempts to paint any Democrats who have been honest about the fact that there is class warfare going on, and the fact that the upper class is winning it, as the cause for civil unrest. Pointing out what's painfully obvious already to the people suffering is not what causes someone to lash out like this. The suffering is. That, or just straight-out mental illness or both, which we won't know until they catch the suspect[s]. In the meantime, of course, "Fair and Balanced" Fox anchors are free to speculate as wildly as they like.
Kelly rounds out her coverage with telling her viewers to go check out Bernard Goldberg's op-ed, which I already posted about here: Bernard Goldberg Attacks Senator Sanders and Calls for 'Big Bronze and Granite Monument' to Honor the Rich
Yeah, that's the ticket, Megyn. I'm sure reading that op-ed will just turn around every American who didn't realize that their biggest economic problem is that they weren't building enough monuments to rich people.
h/t Media Matters and here's more on the arson from The Boston Globe.
State fire officials are investigating a connection between two separate incidents of arson in two Cape Cod towns, authorities said yesterday.
In both instances, someone apparently left messages at the scene condemning wealthy people, officials said.
State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan said evidence found at both locations has led investigators to believe they might be connected.
?There is some commonality to both incidents,?? Coan said. ?There was offensive graffiti that was written and very visibly displayed at both sites.??
On Nov. 24 at around 3:30 a.m., fire crews responded to Boulder Brook Road in Sandwich, where a heavy fire ripped through an unoccupied home and garage that was still under construction.
Coan said State Police assigned to his office and personnel from the Sandwich police and fire departments concluded the blaze was intentionally set, based on physical evidence found. More than a week later in Barnstable, someone attempted to burn down a residence on Trotters Lane in the Marstons Mills section, Coan said.
Barnstable police Detective John York said authorities discovered incendiary devices at the home, and someone had spray-painted expletives on the fence. A similar message was found at the house in Sandwich.
York said the incendiary devices, which officials would not describe in detail, appear to have burned out before setting the Barnstable home on fire Dec. 2.
?Fortunately, no one was injured in either incident,?? Coan said.
He declined to say how investigators determined the incidents to be arson, citing the ongoing investigation.
Coan urged anyone with information about either incident to call the state?s 24-hour arson hotline at 800-682-9229.
Earlier this year, Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin, an 17-year Army veteran, refused to report for duty at Fort Campbell, KY because he said his orders emanated from an illegal President who is not a natural born U.S. citizen. As such, Lakin said he had “no choice” but to disobey the orders and that he would “gladly deploy” if Obama released his birth certificate.
In September, a military judge ruled that Obama’s birth certificate was irrelevant in Lakin’s case, thus he was not able to raise the issue in a military court today where he pleaded guilty to two charges related to the case:
An Army doctor who disobeyed orders to deploy to Afghanistan because he questions President Barack Obama’s citizenship pleaded guilty Tuesday to one of two charges against him.
Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin of Greeley, Colo., pleaded guilty in a military court to a charge that included not meeting with a superior when ordered to do so and not reporting to duty at Fort Campbell.
Lakin faces up to 18 months in prison and dismissal from the Army. He pleaded not guilty to a second charge of missing a flight he was required to be on, and the court-martial proceeding continued on that count.
Stars and Stripes reports that a group of about 30 birthers attended Lakin’s hearing, carrying signs that read “usurper” and “ineligible.” For his part, Lakin still believes Obama was born outside the U.S.:
At the hearing, Lakin told the court that he still believes that questions surround Obama?s presidency but that he should not have refused to meet with his superiors and report to Fort Campbell, Ky., while making his protest.
?I was praying and soul searching,? he said. ?I believed there was a question that needs to be answered to ensure a valid chain of command. But I had asked every question, done everything else I could short of disobeying orders, without success.?
During a heated interview with Lakin back in May, CNN’s Anderson Cooper lambasted him for singling out Obama. “He has taken orders for years from people, probably thousands of orders, countless orders. He has never questioned the legitimacy of the people he has taken orders from…or all he knows, General Casey could be a foreign-born, a — not an American citizen.”
Howard Fineman is as hacktacular at times as Richard Wolffe. But every once in a while he comes out with stuff that nails what the media propaganda machine does to Democrats. The irony and what makes him hacktacular is that he doesn’t even realize[...]
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Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. has raised the ghastly specter of Reaganomics. "If we cut taxes for the wealthy, while maintaining massive military spending in support of two wars, then the new Republican Congress will be empowered to cut[...]
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The View wonders why every time John Boehner talks about something other than tax cuts he cries...and what people would have said if Nancy Pelosi cries as much as he does:
Ed Towns will give up his post as the Democratic ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, setting up a potential battle for that spot, opposite Darrell Issa, who has promised vigorous and probably endless oversight of the Obama Administration.[...]
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Continuing their war on the progressive accomplishments of the 20th century, Fox News is now attacking as illegitimate the estate tax, which was established in its current form in 1916. According to the proposed framework agreed to by President Obama and congressional Republicans, the tax would only impact roughly 3,500 estates in 2011 and would raise over $11 billion.
Napolitano: "What RightDoes The Government Have To Take Money From The Dead?" For Business host Andrew Napolitano, after explaining theterms of the estate tax agreed to in the President's proposed tax plan, asked, "But why should thegovernment be entitled to confiscate a single penny of anyone's possessionssimply because he died?" He went on to ask, "What right does the government have to take money fromthe dead rather than let the dead give it to his or her children?" and to comment, inreferring to guests who supported an estatetax, "you're all in favor of taking money thedead." [Fox Business, Freedom Watch, 12/7/10]
Napolitano: "TheGovernment Has No Moral Right To Take From Us That On Which We Have AlreadyPaid Taxes." Discussing the estate tax on Fox & Friends, Napolitanosaid:
NAPOLITANO:But the big picture is, the government has nomoral right to take from us that on which we have already paid taxes. We should decide whereour estates go: to our children, to our loved ones. Not to bureaucrats in Washington.
When confronted with the 16th Amendment to the Constitution aslegal justification for the tax, Napolitano replied, "Repeal the 16th amendment! Get rid of the IRS! We'd all be a lot happier."[Fox & Friends, 12/10/10]
Kelly: "If I Work All My LifeAnd I Pay My Taxes On My Income And Then I Die And I Want To Pass ... An Estate To MyKids, Why Should I Pay The Government Again?" From aninterview of Rep. Anthony Weiner by Fox News host MegynKelly:
KELLY: If I work all my lifeand I pay my taxes on my income and then I die and I want to pass on what wouldbe great if it were a $5 million dollar estate tomy kids, why should I pay the government again? Why should there be a 35or 45 or 55 percent tax on that again?
WEINER: You aren't payinganything in that case because you'll be dead.
KELLY: Yes, well, the estate is, and that's less for my children.
WEINER: But you -- the onlyquestion is, look, I believe -
KELLY: No, no, you're not --answer my question. How is that fair?
WEINER: Megyn, Megyn, you'regoing to have to let me answer the question if we're going to have aconversation that gets us anywhere.
KELLY: Go ahead.
WEINER: The only question hereis not whether or not there should be a tax onthat, the question is where the limit should be and how much should be withheld-
KELLY: No, I'll ask thequestion and you're not answering. Just tell me: How is it fair? [Fox News' America Live, 12/08/10]
O'Reilly: "This Is A Seizure OfPrivate Property. Where In The Constitution Does It Say The Government CanSeize Private Property?" From BillO'Reilly's December 9 interview with Kelly:
O'REILLY: Look, this isinteresting. Weiner did what [Rep. Charles] Rangeldid, you know, at the top of the program. He's basically not going toanswer the question, your question. He's going to answer whatever question hewants to answer.
KELLY: He didn't want to answerwhy it's fair.
O'REILLY: Right. And what Iwould have brought into Weiner and you wouldn't have gotten an answer anyways-- look, this is aseizure of private property. Where in the Constitution does it say thegovernment can seize private property? That's what it is. Because as yourightly pointed out, it's already been taxed.
O'REILLY: This is a double tax.
KELLY: And his answer was no itisn't, because you pay taxes on it, but your children haven't paid taxes on it.
O'REILLY: Right. You're deadand the children don't earn --
KELLY: They'd never paid taxesso they're going to get hit. But they're getting hit for the first time. So, inhis world, one and one doesn't equal two.
O'REILLY: But all you wanted toknow, all Megyn Kelly want to know was how is this fair?
KELLY: Justify it.
KELLY: Yes, go ahead andjustify it.
O'REILLY: And he didn't want todo that.
KELLY: No, because, you know,the basic philosophy is and I've read a lot about this lately is it's basicallya wealth redistribution policy where they say --
O'REILLY: Of course.
KELLY: -- you know, we takefrom the super rich and it's not unfair because we don't take that much fromthe super rich and we feel like --
O'REILLY: Do you understand thephilosophical justification behind it? Because he could have gone to that. Thephilosophical justification for the liberal community is: you owe it to yourcountry because your country provided you the opportunity of becoming azillionaire. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 12/09/10]
AP:"[T]he [Estate] Tax Would Affect Just 0.14 PercentOf All Estate In 2011, Or About 3,500 Estates, Generating About $11.2 BillionIn Revenue" The Associated Press reports that the recently agreed-to tax deal between Obama and Congressional Republicans exempts the first $5 million of an individual's estate, witha top rate of 35 percent. AP reports that the tax would hit 3,500 estates in2011 and generate roughly $11.2 billion in revenue. the AP article:
More than 40,000 estates worth$1 million to $10 million would be expected to escape inheritance taxes nextyear under the deal struck by Republicans and President Barack Obama.
The package would leave onlyabout 3,500 of the largest estates subject to federal taxes next year, a boonfor the wealthy that many House Democrats say they can't accept.
The federal estate tax reachesfewer than 1 percent of inheritances, but it has long been a politicallightening rod among lawmakers from both parties. Many Republicans want toeliminate the estate tax altogether, derisively calling it a "deathtax" that makes it hard for parents to transfer small businesses to theirchildren.
Estate tax opponents got theirwish this year, when the tax was temporarily repealed. But the tax holiday willbe short-lived because, under current law, the estate tax is scheduled toreturn next year with a top rate of 55 percent for estates larger than $1million for individuals and $2 million for married couples.
The package Obama negotiatedwould set the top rate at 35 percent and exempt the first $5 million of anindividual's estate. Couples could exempt $10 million.
At those levels, the tax wouldaffect just 0.14 percent of all estates in 2011, or about 3,500 estates, generatingabout $11.2 billion in revenue, according to an analysis by the Tax PolicyCenter, a Washington research group.
Under the current law, morethan 44,000 estates are projected to be taxed next year based on the number ofestate-holders in that value bracket who are likely to die. That would generate$34.4 billion in taxes. [AP, 12/9/10]
TaxPolicy Center: Preliminary Estimates Show Tax Deal Would Hit Only 50 "Small Farms AndBusinesses" in 2011. Furthermore, TPC preliminary estimate indicate thatthe proposed estate tax would hit only 50 "Small Farms And Businesses," definedas "[e]states for which farms and business assets comprise at least half ofgross estate and total $5 million or less." For these estates, the average taxrate is estimated to be 7.4 percent. For all estates affected by the tax, the average tax rateis estimated to be 14.4 percent. [Tax PolicyCenter, accessed 12/10/2010]
IRS: "Modern Estate Tax" dates to1916." In "The Estate Tax: Ninety Years and Counting," preparedby the Internal Revenue Service, authors Darien B Jacobson, Brian G. Raub, andBarry W. Johnson write of "The Modern Estate Tax":
The years immediately following therepeal of the inheritance tax were witness to an unprecedented number ofmergers in the manufacturing sector of the economy, fueled by the developmentof a new form of corporate ownership, the holding company. Thisresulted in the concentration of wealth in a relatively small number ofpowerful companies and in the hands of the businessmen who headedthem. Along with such wealth came great political power, fueling fearsover the rise of an American plutocracy and sparking the growth of theprogressive movement. Progressives, including President TheodoreRoosevelt, advocated both an inheritance tax and a graduated income tax astools to address inequalities in wealth.This thinking eventually led to thepassage of the 16th Amendment to the Constitution and the enactment of theFederal income tax. It was not until the advent of another war, World War I,that Congress would enact the Federal estate tax.
The Revenue Act of 1916 (39 Stat.756) created a tax on the transfer of wealth from an estate to itsbeneficiaries, and thus was levied on the estate, as opposed to an inheritancetax that is levied directly on beneficiaries. It applied to net estates,defined as the total property owned by a decedent, the gross estate, lessdeductions. An exemption of $50,000 was allowed for residents; howevernonresidents who owned property in the United States received noexemption. Tax rates were graduated from 1 percent on the first $50,000 to10 percent on the portion exceeding $5 million. According to the act,taxes were due1 year after the decedent's death, and a discount of 5 percent ofthe amount due was allowed for payments made within 1 year of death. Alate payment penalty of 6 percent was assessed unless the delay was deemed"unavoidable."[IRS.gov, accessed 12/10/2010]
IRS:"Taxation Of Property Transfers At Death Can Be Traced Back To Ancient Egypt AsEarly As 700 B.C." The IRS report details the history of inheritance taxes,from Egypt, 2,700 years ago, through ancient Rome, the European middle ages,into the modern era. From "The Estate Tax: Ninety Years andCounting":
Taxation of property transfersat death can be traced back to ancient Egypt as early as 700 B.C. Nearly 2,000 yearsago, Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus imposed the Vicestina Hereditatium, atax on successions and legacies to all but close relatives. Taxes imposed atthe death of a family member were quite common in feudal Europe, oftenamounting to a family's annual property rent. By the 18th century,stamp duties and registration fees on wills, inventories, and other documentsrelated to property transfers at death had been adopted by many nations,including that of the newly formed United State of America." [IRS.gov, accessed12/10/2010]
IRS:"In 1797...Federal Stamps Were Required On Wills Offered For Probate, As Well AsOn Inventories And Letters Of Administration." Furthermore, "[t]hetax on the receipt of legacies was levied on bequests larger than $50, fromwhich widows (but not widowers), children, and grandchildren were exempt. From "The Estate Tax: Ninety Years and Counting":
In 1797, the U.S. Congresschose a system of stamp duties a source of revenue in order to raise funds fora Navy to defend the nation's interest in response to an undeclared war withFrance....Federal stamps were required on wills offered for probate, as well ason inventories and letters of administration. Stamps also were required toreceipts and discharges from legacies and interstate distributions ofproperty....The tax on the receipt of legacies was levied on bequests larger than$50, from which widows (but not widowers), children, and grandchildren wereexempt....In 1802, the crisis ended, and the tax was repealed. [IRS.gov, accessed 12/10/2010]
IRS:"The Advent Of The Civil War Again Forced The Federal Government To SeekAdditional Sources of Revenue, And A Federal Death Tax Was Included In theRevenue Act of 1862." From "The Estate Tax: Ninety Years andCounting":
IN the years immediatelypreceding to American Civil War, revenue from tariffs and the sale of publiclands provided the bulk of the Federal budget. The advent of the Civil Waragain forced the Federal Government to seek additional sources of revenue, anda Federal death tax was included in the Revenue Act of 1862...[T]he 1862 packageincluded a legacy or inheritance tax in addition to a stamp tax on the probateof wills and letters of administration. Originally, the legacy tax only appliedto personal property, and tax rates were graduated based on the legatee'srelationship to the decedent, not on the value of the bequest or size of theestate.
By 1864 the mounting cost ofthe Civil War led to the reenactment of the 1862 Act, with somemodifications....The end of the Civil War, and subsequent discharge of the debsassociated with the war, gradually eliminated the need for extra revenueprovided by the 1864 act. Therefore, in 1870, the legacy and succession taxeswere repealed....Between 1863 and 1871, these taxes had contributed a total ofabout $14.8 million to the Federal Budget. [IRS.gov, accessed 12/10/2010]
IRS:"A Federal Legacy Tax Was Proposed In 1898 As A Means To Raise Revenue For The Spanish-AmericanWar...Despite Strong Opposition, The Legacy Tax Was Made Law." From"The Estate Tax: Ninety Years and Counting":
Throughout the last half of the19th century, the industrial revolution brought about profoundchanges in the U.S. economy. Industry replaced agriculture as the primarysource of wealth and political power in the United States. Tariffs and realestate taxes had traditionally been the primary sources of Federal revenue,both of which fell disproportionately on farmers, leaving the wealth ofindustrialists relatively untouched...
Against this backdrop, aFederal legacy tax was proposed in 1898 as a means to raise revenue for theSpanish-American War. Unlike the two previous Federal death taxes levied intimes war, the 1898 tax proposal provoked heated debate. Despite strong opposition,the legacy tax was made law. Although alled a legacy tax, it was a duty on theestate itself, not on its beneficiaries, and served as a precursor to thepresent Federal Estate tax...The end of the Spanish-American war came in 1902,and the tax was repealed alter that year. Although short-lived, the tax raisedabout $14.1 million. [IRS.gov, accessed 12/10/2010]
TaxFoundation: Modern Estate Tax Hits Far Fewer Estates Than In Recent Past. A TaxFoundation report from 1994 explains that "[p]rior to the 1976 Act [reformingthe estate tax], estate taxes were paid by approximately seven percent ofestates in any given year. After 1987, the estate tax was paid by no more thanthree-tenths of one percent in a given year." [Tax Foundation, January1994]
Since President Obama's election,Fox personalities have expressed opposition to or called for the repealof virtually every progressive achievement of the 20th century, includingSocial Security, Medicare, the Americans with Disabilities Act, portions of theCivil Rights Act of 1964, and the 16th and 17th Amendments to the Constitution.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday that "important progress" has been made in Afghanistan, and a formal review of the situation indicates that the U.S. troop withdrawal President Obama vowed last December would begin in July 2011 will be able to take place as scheduled. The review will be published Thursday after the President speaks about it. Gibbs did not specify how many of the approximately 100,000 U.S. troops now in Afghanistan might be part of that withdrawal. The administration made clear last month that the review is diagnostic and examines only what is going right and what is going wrong. No policy changes are expected. Gibbs said Obama "feels confident that we are on track."
Meanwhile, two new National Intelligence Estimates reports, one on Afghanistan and one on Pakistan, "paint a bleak picture of the security conditions in Afghanistan and say the war cannot be won unless Pakistan roots out militants on its side of the border, according to several U.S. officials who have been briefed on the findings." The reports were shared in detailed briefings of the Senate Intelligence Committee and some aspects shared with members of the House Intelligence Committee last week.
Two key areas of concern, according to unnamed sources familiar with the estimates, are failure to build infrastructure in a timely fashion and a lag in training the Afghan security forces that are slated to take over in 2014. Training police and Afghan National Army recruits has been a problem for years, and plagued by large rate of desertions and defections. Sometimes, the defectors have turned their weapons on U.S. personnel or Afghans allied with the United States. Last September, the Pentagon estimated the desertion/defection rate for the ANA at more than 30 percent.
A military official familiar with the reports said the gloomier prognosis in the Afghanistan report became a source of friction as a preliminary version was passed among government agencies.
Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, acknowledged the contrast between the Afghan estimate and Petraeus' reports.
"It's a very disciplined, structured process, so it's got a cutoff date that's substantially earlier in the game than, say, the military review," Cartwright said in a recent interview.
Six American soldiers based at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, were killed and 11 wounded Sunday in a suicide attack on an outpost of the 101st Airborne Division in Kandahar province. Nearly 500 American military personnel have died in Afghanistan in 2010, by far the largest fatality rate since the war began in 2001. Last month, a member of the Afghan Border Police shot and killed six other soldiers from Fort Campbell during a training exercise in Nangahar province.